Download Quirks of Human Anatomy: An Evo-Devo Look at the Human Body by Lewis I. Held Jr. PDF

By Lewis I. Held Jr.

With the emergence of the hot box of evolutionary developmental biology we're witnessing a renaissance of Darwin's insights one hundred fifty years after his starting place of Species. up to now, the fascinating findings from "evo-devo" have simply been trickling into university classes and into the area of non-specialists. With its concentrate on the human organism, Quirks of Human Anatomy opens the floodgates by means of pointing out the arguments of evo-devo in simple English, and by way of delivering a cornucopia of fascinating case reviews and examples. Its didactic price is superior through 24 schematic diagrams that combine a number of disparate observations, by way of its Socratic question-and-answer structure, and via its extraordinary compilation of the literature. through framing the "hows" of improvement when it comes to the "whys" of evolution, it shall we readers probe the inner most questions of biology. Readers will locate the booklet not just academic but in addition stress-free, because it revels within the enjoyable of clinical exploration.

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Smaller cutter) is fixed before adulthood based on usage [987,1564]: both claws become cutters if they are underused, but an unknown neural circuit prevents them both from becoming crushers [985,986]. The crusher–cutter asymmetry in crustaceans is eerily similar to our molar–incisor dichotomy, and the convergence gets even spookier in the molarlike “teeth” that line their crusher. Both gadgets (claws and jaws) are lovely illustrations of physical constraints because they evolved as simple levers and are subject to the same formulae as scissors and pliers.

This pointless pirouette wraps their ejaculatory duct around their rectum internally (Fig. 1d) [1216] but has no net effect externally, where the angle of the penis really matters. Here at least, there may be a simple evolutionary explanation. , mosquitoes), the penis only rotates 180 degrees, and it does so reversibly during sex [437]. , Drosophila) “changed their mind” and reverted to the old posture for some reason (insects are kinky [1220]), then the latter flies could have restored the original penile angle in one of two ways.

Intriguingly, the hormone melatonin is made from the neurotransmitter serotonin [203], and the two enzymes that are needed for the conversion had actually evolved much earlier in the cephalochordates [1396]. Hence, the third eye was already preadapted physiologically to becoming a gland. We do not yet know (1) how the release of melatonin came to depend on day–night rhythms [1426,1727] nor (2) how the hormone eventually entrained an apt set of target tissues to respond accordingly [2704]. Amazingly, the immature pineal gland of a frog can be spurred to grow as big as an eye—and to resemble one anatomically—by merely (1) transplanting it from a younger to an older tadpole [1275] or (2) removing the lateral eyes [1274].

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